24 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire that broke out at a private hospital in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar on Monday evening. The blaze was suspected to have been triggered by an electric short circuit in the dialysis ward on the first floor of the Sum hospital and spread to the nearby Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Following the incident, the state government has formed a three member committee under a Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) to probe the mishap.
State’s Health Minister Atanu S Nayak said stringent action will be taken if the hospital authorities are found guilty of negligence.
The fire rapidly spread to other areas on the same floor of the four-storey hospital building and most of the victims were in the first floor ICU of the ill-fated hospital. Doctors said most of the deaths took place due to suffocation.
Police and fire brigade personnel along with volunteers and hospital staff launched a massive rescue operation as more than 500 indoor patients were trapped in the building.
At least 10 fire tenders were pressed into service to control the blaze and over a dozen ambulances deployed to shift the critical patients to other hospitals.
State Chief Secretary Aditya Padhi said, the injured persons have been admitted to various hospitals including AIIMS Bhubaneswar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep anguish at the loss of lives in the massive blaze. In a series of tweets, he described the tragedy as mind-numbing and said his thoughts are with bereaved families.
The Prime Minister spoke to Union Health Minister JP Nadda and asked him to facilitate transfer of all those injured to AIIMS in Bhubaneswar.
He also spoke to Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and asked him to ensure all possible help to the injured and affected. The Prime Minister also spoke to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik about the tragedy and assured all possible help from the Centre.
Nadda said the Centre is providing all necessary support to the State government. Mr Nadda said he has already spoken to the AIIMS in Bhubaneswar and asked it to provide all necessary help to the patients.
He said that Union Health secretary CK Mishra has already spoken to Odisha Health department officials and is in constant touch with them.
Patnaik expressed serious concern over the mishap and described it as very tragic. He directed the government hospitals to provide necessary treatment to patients shifted from Sum Hospital. The Chief Minister also requested all private hospitals to extend treatment to the patients.